Cobra & Vulture
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Cobra & Vulture

Montréal, Quebec, Canada

Montréal, Quebec, Canada
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This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Nightwood: Heavy Magic Is Coming"

“Heavy, dark, but totally fun” is the way Montreal trio Nightwood describe themselves, and that’s pretty apropos after listening to a few of the tracks on offer over at their Myspace page. The band originally caught my attention when they sent me an email letting me know about their most recent video “Bright Girls of Summer” off their October 2009 release, Carta Marina. The video is a time-lapsed document of the entire recording process for the record. When accompanied by the song’s march-like beat, the images are somewhat intoxicating, in a voyeuristic kind of way. Far from revealing the magic behind the recording process, it peaks your curiously about what they may have been talking about while sitting around the studio, or what the mood may have been like after endless takes of a particular drum track.

That’s indicative of Nightwood’s music, too. The first few times through, I didn’t have the benefit of track names, but once I did some digging around I could put a name to the songs that drew me in, like “Johnny” (track 3), that reminded me of a scrappier, punkier Throwing Muses. Their songs are airtight and, like the sweetly swaggering “Sunken Mountains” (track 4) proves, they’re no one-trick pony. You’d do yourself a great injustice be just listening to one or two tracks before making up your mind about Nightwood, because just when you think you have them figured out, the next song comes on and it’s not what you expected to hear. The influences may be of a DIY punk stripe, but these influences cross and intersect like lines in a madras shirt rather than a woolly checkered plaid.

I’m sorry to say I’m late in getting to this post, as the band has just wrapped up a series of dates across Ontario and Quebec, but I’m sure they’ll be further ventures out on the road in support of Carta Marina, and I’m sure this won’t be the last you hear of them here.

- Quick Before It Melts

"Nightwood + Modernboys Moderngirls – Divan Orange – Thursday, January 21st"

Nightwood finally took the stage acting as headliners for the night. This IS their city (we’re in Montreal…), after all. The band consists of Amber Goodwyn, Erin Ross, and Jeremy MacCuish (also of Cotton Mouth and Parlovr), on guitars and drums respectively. The set list consisted of songs off their new LP Carta Marina, which is mainly an LP about the ocean. I should admit off the bat, that on first listening to the studio versions of the songs, I didn’t fully “get” their sound. This is not to say that their sound wasn’t good, but I guess sometimes you need a live performance to truly capture the magic and charm of the music and the band themselves. Starting with “Heavy Magic is Coming,” the band started slow before letting the guitars rip. For live performances, this band scored big points and made a great first impression, as they brought an intense energy to the stage, and played some of their more interesting numbers, such as “The Bright Girls of Summer,” “Maritimer,” and “Skeleton Crew.” the highlight of the set, however, was the powerful “Gretta at the Window,” which included a brief whistle from Juan Carlos Rivas of MBMG.

My photographer Laura had mentioned to me early on, that sometimes the concert experience truly defines a band, and whatever I was missing from listening to their LP, was made up for in Thursday night’s show. – Jordan Ghetler
- MeetYouAtTheShow

"Nightwood, At the Break of Don, Modernboys Moderngirls @ Divan Orange, Montréal – Jan. 21, 2010"

I already praised Nightwood in my review of Carta Marina, their first LP. Well, the band successfully took the record to the next level on that stage Thursday night. Sporting an amazing silver guitar that strangely suited her despite the obvious Metal Head feel of it, Erin Ross seemed to be at home in front of a crowd. Singer/guitarist Amber Goodwyn’s voice shocked and left me with my mouth gaping, as if I couldn’t believe such a powerful, angry and raw voice could come out of such a tiny ribcage. They began their set effectively with the first song on Carta Marina, “Heavy Magic Is Coming”. The steady guitar riff set the tone for the evening, all mysterious and heavy. The voice harmonies kicked in and I was left to wonder “where are the fog machines!” (yes, Glee reference, thank you very much). “Play the Dishes/Wash the Guitar” got the audience going with its sing along feeling and the beautiful “Bright Girls of Summer” sent us into a trance. They played all ten songs from their new LP and the show seemed too short. At the end of “Gretta At A Window” we were all ready for more, waiting, hoping. The whole vibe of the LP was multiplied live, so mix that with funny banter and stage presence and you got a pretty perfect show. They use the simple two guitars/drums combination wisely and effectively. It’s never redundant and Nightwood are a great novelty in the Montréal music scene. Why wasn’t this show sold out again?

Buy the LP, see them live; I’m very serious.

- Singing Lamb

"Nightwood - The Horseshoe"

Brandishing a spiky guitar-led sound that careens between post-punk and indie-rock, this Montreal trio’s secret power lies in keeping it simple while maintaining an edgy DIY vision. Controlling the energy with fuzz-toned riffs, pop leanings, and brooding heartfelt vocals stylistically akin to a Patti Smith or PJ Harvey, Nightwood is both compelling and strangely catchy at the same time. - Lonely Vagabond

"Nightwood: Nager dans les mêmes eaux"

C’est un roman de Djuna Barnes datant de 1936 qui a inspiré le trio local Nightwood à s’appeler ainsi. Cependant, on doit remonter beaucoup plus loin dans le temps pour l’inspiration derrière le titre de leur premier opus complet, dont le lancement est prévu le 1er octobre. Carta Marina, c’est la plus ancienne carte de la Scandinavie (dessinée au 16e siècle) qui dresse un portrait des peuples terrestres et des animaux sous-marins qui vivaient dans ses eaux à l’époque.

« Je me suis mis à m’intéresser à l’imagerie nautique et aux monstres sous-marins », explique Amber Goodwyn, (qui partage les fonctions de chanteuse/guitariste avec sa comparse Erin Ross) quant à cette thématique très présente sur Carta Marina. « J’ai partagé cette passion avec Erin et notre batteur Jeremy MacCuish et ils ont aussi accroché. » «J’ai écris plusieurs autres chansons avec ces thèmes en tête, poursuit Erin. Puis, c’est devenu comme un album-concept. »


Le lien qui lie les deux musiciennes est très fort et ça se comprend : Amber et Erin se connaissent depuis près d’une quinzaine d’années. En trio depuis quelques années au sein de Nightwood, elles se voient mal faire de la musique l’une sans l’autre. Leur rock noir rêveur jouit d’une formule qui fonctionne, alors pourquoi la changer? « La dynamique qu’on a est super importante, affirme Amber. Ça serait étrange d’accueillir d’autres musiciens dans le groupe. Pour Erin et moi, c’est devenu une seconde nature de faire de la musique ensemble. »

Amber nous explique d’ailleurs qu’il y a plusieurs « sister songs » sur Carta Marina, des chansons qu’elle a composées en réponse aux chansons d’Erin (« Island of Forgetfulness » a été composée après « Sunken Mountains », par example). Comme quoi elles s’inspirent mutuellement et que leur amitié se transpose jusque dans la structure de leur premier disque. « Carta Marina ne s’est pas fait en une fin de semaine, assure Erin. On a pris le temps de faire ça de manière soignée. »

Triangle complet

N’oublions pas Jeremy, qui « est un élément qui s’ajoute très bien à notre équation, » insiste Amber. Au départ, c’était Eric Lapointe qui apportait du rythme aux deux guitaristes et le groupe avait sorti un premier maxi en 2008 sur son étiquette Grenadine. Après son départ (du groupe, mais aussi du label), Amber et Erin avaient pensé utiliser plusieurs batteurs pour l’enregistrement de l’album complet, mais la dynamique avec Jeremy (qui est aussi du groupe Parlovr) a tellement bien marché qu’il s’est joint aux règnes de façon permanente il y a quelques mois.

Amber nous explique que Nightwood est une partie intégrale de leur vie et du fait qu’elle et ses comparses se détachent difficilement de leurs implications sociales. Fondatrice du smutzine Lickety Split, elle fait également partie de l’organisation Head in Hands, qui fait (entres autres) la promotion de l’éducation sexuelle des jeunes. « Montréal est comme une petite communauté, au fond, dit Amber. C’est naturel qu’on s’implique ici et là. Pour ce fait, Nightwood a déjà joué des spectacles-bénéfices pour différentes organisations, tout comme Parlovr. C’est la créativité au profit des changements sociaux. »

Nightwood part en tournée au Québec et en Ontario pour faire la promotion de Carta Marina dès la semaine prochaine. Carta Marina sera lancé au Green Room (5386, boul. St-Laurent) le 1er octobre.

Valerie Thérien
22 septembre 2009 - Bang!Bang!

"Review: Nightwood – Carta Marina"

With a team made of some of the greatest artists on the Montreal local scene (Parlovr, Martin Horn, Double Negative) Nightwood’s first LP was bound to be a nearly perfect album. Carta Marina is a collection of carefully arranged rock songs complimented by beautiful, powerful voices. The album is a 12” vinyl and digital release only and can be purchased at shows and on the interwebs at the band’s website. Carta Marina flows freely and swiftly allows the listener to adopt each and every song. The album fits an early morning jogging as well as an afternoon nap, like that snuggly hoodie you won’t let go of. After the very first listen you’ll feel the irresistible urge to sing along and shake your hips to the catchy guitar riffs and steady drums. “Play the Dishes/Wash the Guitar” is a clear invitation to committing the oh so pleasurable felony of public sing-along so listeners, be warned! Despite the heavy, gloomy atmosphere emanating from the music, one can’t help but feel drawn towards it, like a fly caught in a lantern all smiley faced and “Oh! What’s this! Pretty!”. The vocals set the mood, similar to what Patti Smith did with Horses and her powerful lyrics. It grabs your guts in the same torturing way and twists something inside your heart. On Johnny (a wink at Patti’s Land, maybe?) the Patti Smith influence is fully displayed with the near whisper of the first few words and the firm guitars. Nightwood make me want to listen to Patti Smith, not in lieu of their own music, but because it compliments it rather nicely. To top off this stunning album, the cover art for the vinyl was made by Montreal’s own Rick Leong, painter extraordinaire and current Parisian Laundry favourite.

Nightwood are currently on the road with their “Recession Tour” co-headlining with Modernboys Moderngirls (they vowed to settle the Montréal-Toronto rivalry by out performing each other every night; promising!) . Nightwood will be on their own at the Horseshoe in Toronto on January 19th for a FREE show. I said free. I suggest you go. On the 21st the band will be back in their hometown of Montréal with Modernboys Moderngirls and At The Break Of Don at the cozy Divan Orange.


For tour information, to buy the album and more:

- Singing Lamb

"There's Whitecaps On the Horizon"

I've never lived by the sea, but I often wish that I did. I imagine myself, somehow with a grizzly beard, sitting on the edge of a lighthouse balcony, storms brewing on the Atlantic horizon, the wind bitting my weathered face as I pack a pipe full of tobacco. It may be a fantasy, but its one that I return to every time I put on Carta Marina, the debut album from Montreal drone-rock trio, Nightwood. The album is centred around oceanic images and themes, and its sound rolls along with an oceanic steadiness and strength. Call back harmonies, tight drumming, and clear cut guitar riffs frame the album, giving it a dark, hypnotic tone. Songs like "Maritimer" and "Sunken Mountains" feature verses that are pieced together line by line, sung back and forth with siren-like mystique between Amber Goodwin and Erin Ross, while drummer Jeremy MacCuish keeps a tight and reliable rhythm, consistently surging behind the dizzying vocals. I am particularly fond of this simple verse from "Sunken Mountains" which strikes me as ominous and apocalyptic, being totally consistent with the rushing tension that characterizes this album:

the peaks are falling
the depths are rising
there’s white caps on the
on the horizon, oh!

After the album's release in October 2009, Nightwood has been promoting their work by touring Eastern Canada and regularly updating their well-kept and interesting blog, which doubles as an arena for discussion on Style & Fashion (check it out). This Winter, they will be touring with the highly reputable Toronto band Modernboys Moderngirls, which is sure to bring Nightwood some more well-deserved attention, as their brand of "stoner-drone-rock" gets introduced to new throngs of people.

If you dig bands like Black Mountain, Pink Mountaintops, or the darker early stuff from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, then I can guarantee that you'll be a fan of Nightwood's music. If you listen to the album through your headphones, you're bound to be entranced; drawn in to the brooding intensity; waiting for the violence of the imminent storm from the lighthouse lookout of your mind.

Here's the recently released video for their song "The Bright Girls of Summer," which finishes off the album with a great crescendo of scattered vocals and pumping noise. It features footage shot during the making of Carta Marina.
- The Ones That Are Mad

"Carta Marina - Nightwood 4.5/5"

(4.5/5) Depuis sa sortie le 1er octobre dernier, l’album Carta Marina m’a ensorcelé à un point tel que j’ai dû l’écarter de ma vie, l’enfermer dans un coffre-fort à double tour et jeter les clés par la fenêtre. Tout cela pour demeurer en bonne santé physique et mentale. Je me doute qu’il n’est pas nécessaire de vous dire que je n’ai rien fait de tout cela. Je l’ai simplement écouté, savouré jusqu’à la dernière goutte, et aujourd’hui il me fait plaisir de vous partager mes impressions.

Carta Marina est un opus savoureux et ensorcelant qui repose sur la thématique de l’eau, élément naturel pour lequel la chanteuse et guitariste Amber Goodwyn s’est intéressée et qui constitue, par le fait même, l’élément constitutif de l’œuvre. Carta Marina, c’est la carte la plus ancienne de la Scandinavie. Elle a été dessinée au 16e siècle et elle représente l’ensemble des peuples terrestres et des animaux marins qui ont vécu dans les eaux à cette époque. Ainsi, Carta Marina est devenu par la force des choses un album-concept auquel Erin Ross (chant, guitare) et Jeremy MacCuish (batterie) ont donné leur appui.

Nightwood, c’est une formation montréalaise qui œuvre dans la musique rock indie un rien noire, qui est aussi exploratoire et lyrique, appuyée d’une formule rythmée à point qui rappelle de près les très excellents Sons And Daughters. Dès l’ouverture, la chimie qui se dégage entre les deux musiciennes est à couper le souffle : la guitare est subtile, comme suspendue dans l’univers, et leur chant bien mesuré accompagne avec merveille la mélodie un rien minimaliste. Plus tard, la voix légèrement éraillée d’Amber Goodwyn apporte sincérité et émotivité à une chanson déjà surchargée par une vague de sentiments. Maritimer est une ode par-dessus laquelle se côtoient deux guitares électriques qui épousent bien les percussions timides mais rythmées de MacCuish. La finale est interprétée en canon par les deux musiciennes et l’interprétation est à ce point saisissante, qu’on a l’impression d’être pris de vertige. Johnny démarre en trombe et rappelle Metric à l’époque de Live It Out, avec un chant réservé et sérieux à la Emily Haines. Le refrain est simple, répétitif, mais totalement accrocheur. Les chansons défilent et l’on s’émerveille par la qualité et la variation dans les chants (Play The Dishes/Wash The Guitar), par l’essence rock qui imprègne les mélodies (Gretta At A Window) et par la douceur de certaines compositions (Bright Girls Of Summer).

Nightwood est une formation débutante qui risque de satisfaire même les plus exigeants. Si vous aimez le rock lyrique émouvant et rythmé à la fois, cet album est pour vous !

Desc. : Rock indie lyrique
R.S.V.A. : Sons & Daughters, Metric, Parlovr * Nightwood sera en spectacle à Montréal au Divan Orange le 21 janvier 2010
- Emoragei

"Nightwood: Carta Marina"

Montreal based Nightwood's full length debut album, Carta Marina, is a fascinating experience. Nightwood have focused their considerable talent on creating a true album. In an age when records are rapidly becoming either a loose amalgamation of songs or hyper-intensive concept albums, it seems the idea of musical albums as they once existed is becoming obsolete. Amber Goodwyn, Erin Ross and Jeremy MacCuish have shown us otherwise.

Carta Marina (Latin for “map of the sea”) is a collection of ten songs that are neither completely dependent nor independent of each other. It is difficult to imagine listening to a single track off of this album, yet each individual track exists in its own world. The songs are linked by reference to the sea and nautical life, but are not so heavy-handed in this reference that the individual songs lose their deeper meaning. Carta Marina manages to balance itself quite skillfully. “The Island of Forgetfulness” is a song about guilt driven as much by the foreboding guitars of Goodwyn and Ross as by its lyrics, which couch the experience of guilt in metaphors about islands and beaches. Meanwhile “Maritimer” is a track which more clearly brings to mind a sailor's life. While perhaps a bit hyperbolic, the band's own description of the album is very nearly accurate: “Carta Marina’s songs are like sailors lying snug against each other below deck, whispering stories about life at sea, a bottle passed back and forth, adrift amidst oceanic rock and roll.”

It is this success in producing a real album that makes another aspect of the release so annoying. Nightwood has chosen to release the album in only two formats: on a 12” vinyl and as a digital download. While the vinyl lovers among us can rejoice in having another ally, the rest of us can only wonder what we have done to deserve such scorn. Nightwood proudly declares their choice of format in the press release for the album: “Carta Marina is a ten-song album in the truest sense of the word: the release formats are exclusively 12” vinyl LP and digital download.” It seems that Nightwood believes the idea of an album is contained within the format, and compact discs are not that format. It is hard to see this choice as anything but a silly pretension. Too often, independent bands become more focused on being independent bands than on being musicians. While it is hard to think of another justification for the choice of release formats, it is all too easy to make the assumption that the band believes that this somehow gives them more indie cred.

That one glaring fault aside, the album is a joy to lovers of independent rock. MacCuish's percussion nearly perfectly complements the brooding guitars of Goodwyn and Ross. The vocals are a skilled match for the music, shifting with ease from gritty to polished passages. While the album is a serious one, it never loses sight of the idea of fun. The songs manage to convey their concepts without being bleak; indeed, the album is at times quite bouncy, as in the happy sounding guitar riffs of “Play the Dishes/Wash the Guitar.” It is certainly interesting to hear lines such as “I call shotgun, I cry rape / I'm getting married, my period's late,” belted out by two confident female vocalists with no trace of mournfulness.

Carta Marina is yet another reminder of all that Montreal's independent music scene has to offer. It is an album made by artists who clearly have both a desire and ability to one day be masters of their craft. It shows remarkable maturity to craft an album which flows together so well and demands such attention from the listener. Nightwood have established themselves as a band worth watching.

Track List:
1. Heavy Magic Is Coming (5:37)
2. Maritimer (3:15)
3. Johnny (2:19)
4. Sunken Mountains (3:24)
5. Island of Forgetfulness (4:12)
6. Skeleton Crew (4:02)
7. Sturgeon (2:53)
8. Play the Dishes/Wash the Guitar (3:10)
9. Gretta At a Window (3:27)
10. Bright Girls of Summer (5:16)
- InYourSpeakers

"Cobra and Vulture: Future Tension"

Cobra and Vulture is an interesting mix of 60s psych-garage guitar tone and vocals reminiscent of a band I’ve never heard but still feel familiar and comfortable with. I doubt that makes sense. It’s my first day. Give me a break.

I’m normally not a fan of purposely lo-fi recordings, mainly because they almost always just sound like someone is using the cliched “I’m singing through a telephone/bullhorn” shtick or they’re recordings that WANTED ever-so-badly to be hi-fi in the beginning, but while trying to build the impenetrable bastions necessary in a clean, spotlessly produced pop record, it’s clear the band ran out of bricks early on and opted out for a bouncy castle instead. There’s a saying in my family that nothing breaks a fall off a wall like its inflatable counterpart. My family is weird and likes egregious metaphors (oh look! A music review that’s more about the writer than the band! Someone get Pitchfork on the line, I’ve got a resume to submit and an ego to stroke).

While my motion sickness often yearns for at least a semi-stable rampart more than it does the nausea factory that is the hot, stinky room of brightly coloured polyplastic/rubber composites we call a bouncy castle, sometimes you’ve got to stop being such a cynical jerk and just bounce around til you puke.

This band is in that category. Sort of.

They mix all the fun of a “lolz, at least they’re fun :P” lo-fi band with something special; something of merit, something that doesn’t make me want to crawl back into my shell of self-righteousness. They have interesting melodies and simple-but-not-stupid progressions and just the right amount of repetition to keep everyone happy. Simply put: Cobra and Vulture is a lo-fi pseudo-garage indie pop band that anti-hipster elitists (meta-hipsters?) should have a really hard time thumbing their collective nose at.

I know I did.

Grab the album Seer Free on Bandcamp. - Ride The Tempo

"Cobra & Vulture: Station Agent Of Change"

Unlike the previous Cobra and Vulture track that was posted, this one has vocals that are significantly clearer. It’s almost like they moved out of the garage. This one is just simply tribal-like percussion and vocals. It’s a different kind of stripped down. No guitars If you haven’t already you can grab their album Seer for free on Bandcamp. - Ride The Tempo

"Bright Girls of Summer"

I’m sensing a trend.

Last week, I posted about Papermaps, who used to be EX~PO. Today, I’d like you to meet Cobra & Vulture, who used to be Nightwood (somewhat frequently featured on QBiM over the last few years), but now Nightwood is no more, a “band from the past” according to their dead-in-the-water website. Cobra & Vulture is now, and now is pretty darn cool. While in the middle of recording their full-length debut, the trio have released a four-song EP (called Seer), making a clean break with their previous incarnation. Amber Goodwyn and Erin Ross spit and splice their voices and guitars through drummer Jeremy MacCuish’s sparse but strong beats on “Future Tension” and “Fortune”, but my favourite of the four tracks is the opener, “Station Agent of Change” (which you can hear for yourself below).

Seer EP is available as a free download from Cobra & Vulture’s Bandcamp page right now. - Quick Before it Melts

"Cobra and Vulture attack with a new sound"

Montreal-based group Cobra and Vulture employs a simple palette of drums, guitar, and vocals to produce a folk-rock blend for the modern listener. The ensemble’s recently released EP Seer is self-described as containing themes of "clairvoyance, worry and hope." Departing from their former band Nightwood, the fledgling EP is a brave departure into a genre-defying sound that is reminiscent more of the old west than the urban background from which it springs.

The initial track “Station Agent of Change” makes evident the shift in creative direction, kicking off with tribal-inspired hard hitting beats from drummer Jeremy MacQuish, combined with maracas, conjuring up images of rattle snakes and wide open Wyoming prairies. These form the pleasingly unexpected counterpart to the strong yet lilting folksy vocals of singers and best friends Amber Goodwyn and Erin Ross, who harmonize with each other like old friends should. Their voices are quite unusual and lend themselves nicely to the gospel and folk inspirations that shine through, but can sometimes slip off into something that sounds rather unpleasantly like ‘90s femme rock.

This quickly dissipates into “Future Tension” a fast-paced anthem reminiscent of their fellow Canadian musicians Arcade Fire, both in the sharp and unusual female vocals and in themes of family and nostalgia for the experiences of youth. It forms a strong artistic statement and is an obvious standout in the compilation. The final track “Apology” opens with a stretching a cappella intro, giving way to a punchy bassline and strong harmony, almost entering the realm of Sleigh Bells but stops short, opting wisely to stay with a softer sound.

Although there are some inconsistencies to be worked out, it’s exciting to hear something with an air of novelty. Cobra and Vulture promises to keep us one our toes--let’s just hope that it’s in a way we’ll enjoy. - InYourSpeakers

"Out of Nightwood's Ashes: Cobra & Vulture"

Back in December, 2009 a contributing writer here at InYourSpeakers wrote an article about Nightwood’s first full-length album, Carta Marina, describing the album as “a joy to lovers of independent rock.” While the band’s name has since changed to Cobra & Vulture, the subtle power and quality of their sound has remained. With their first EP, Seer, Cobra & Vulture will certainly not disappoint.

As Nightwood burned out, Cobra & Vulture was born of its ashes. The Montreal trio consists of Amber Godwyn, Erin Ross, and Jeremy MacCuish. The group took a break after the recording of their LP and used the time to write and record Seer. The group is very unique in that it is led by two strong females on guitar and vocals. In spite of their distinctiveness, I can’t help but hear echoes of groups like Little Joy, where the clear female vocal pierces right through the heart of the listener.

No song is longer than 2:22, making the EP a very quick listen. This is a case where quantity and quality are not remotely related. Cobra & Vulture pack an intense guitar and distorted sound, paired with rocking vocals into “Future Tension,” while “Apology” concludes the EP with raw emotion and the quiet rhythm of MacCuish on drums.

This debut EP from the evolved Cobra & Vulture gives us a taste of nothing but good things to come from this Montreal trio. - InYourSpeakers

"Cobra & Vulture!"

Another awesome act from my neighbors to the north! On "Carve a Path Like a Valley Through the Land", Montreal trio Cobra and Vulture use tribal type percussion under some intricate intertwining guitars as the bed for a voice that brings to mind both PJ Harvey and Siouxie Sioux. The lead singer demands your attention throughout with her strong voice and presence while the accompaniment strum, pluck, and bang away like primitive people honoring their gods. It's powerful! - How is this not a hit?

"Crushing on Nightwood"

Nightwood is a stylish, musical trio from Montreal, whose newest album, Carte Marina, is heavily inspired by all things nautical and dreamy. Amber, Jeremy, and Erin will be playing a free show at Toronto’s legendary Horseshoe Tavern on January 19, 2010. Here we talk to the girls of Nightwood about the importance of shopping local, band uniforms, and the best-dressed musicians of all time.

You’ve done some interesting alterations to garments in some of your videos. How do you feel these works fit in with your music?

Amber: The videos were fairly simple to make. We’d set up my laptop in a corner with a time-lapse application to record us while we were making stuff. It’s a bit magical to watch them afterward - we’re still pretty new to tailoring and sewing and so it’s like an extra high-five at the end of a project! We enjoy the creative control that comes with almost every aspect of being an independent band: designing album cover artwork, promoting ourselves - the whole bit. So same goes with our clothes! I must admit that a lot of why we ended up tailoring our clothes is that we can’t always afford to buy new ones- we really put almost all of our disposable income into the band and so tailoring, making, or thrifting our wardrobes is practical.

Erin: It would appear we’re somewhat obsessed with process! I tend to keep little NW mementos (set lists, scraps of paper with lyrics or song ideas, recordings of early versions of songs, etc.) and we even time-lapsed the entire making of our record, which Amber set to the song Bright Girls of Summer for the album’s first music video. I’ve found the process of making art to be artful in itself and am grateful for all the documentation!

What role, if any, does feminism play in your wardrobe choices?

Amber: Choosing what to wear so that I can do the things I want to do in my life can be considered feminist, I think. I really appreciate when independent designers add pockets to their creations in case I need carry stuff in them to pull a MacGyver move to get out of a tricky spot. In the past I used to confuse the reasons why I would dress up for a performance, for example, thinking I had to dress myself up to be more easy on the eyes of others. It’s exciting to think of stage clothes as being separate from my regular wardrobe and somehow an extension of the songs we play. I think that when I own that, I’m asserting myself as a human being and artist, and that’s pretty feminist.

Erin: Yep. Good one, Ambs! Except I find pockets in my purse to be more useful…!

Tell us a little about the process of your wardrobe selections.

Amber: I’ve recently purged a whole bunch of clothes from my closet and kept only the garments that I wear regularly, have sentimental value or are just awesome! This makes getting dressed way more fun and collage-like with all my materials spread out in front of me. Most of my stuff was thrifted sometime in the past ten years or was handed down to me from my mom or step-mother or claimed at one of the many clothing exchanges my buds have hosted. I got my sewing machine a few years ago and that’s been pretty revolutionary for me!

Erin: It’s gotta feel right. An outfit can feel right last Friday, but today it’s totally wrong. That’s why we must tour with a little variety, and why it’s totally acceptable to shake out yesterday’s outfit, disregard the smell and pull it back on.

How do outfit changes affect your live performances?

Amber: Outfit changes definitely help me mentally prepare for the stage. After sitting in the back of the vehicle for hours, schlepping gear into the venue and then soundchecking, it’s a lovely way to transition into a performance. I like to wear dark tights, little black leather boots and short vintage or vintage-inspired dresses on stage with red lipstick and my hair pinned to the side…sort of a Jane Austen-meets-riot grrrl-meets-”Gothic Lolita” thing. I like looking ultra feminine and playing up my (somewhat) small stature which makes it so much more fun to make heavy guitar sounds and belt out weirdo mystical lyrics! I definitely think that playing music with other people is profoundly human and it’s a privilege to share that with others - so dressing up for a performance (for me) is also a sign of respect for those who show up to a rock venue late at night in the middle of January.

Erin: Sometimes I leave the outfit I’ve planned in the car and don’t change from soundcheck to performance and on nights like these that’s just how I’m most at ease. But other times there is definitely something freeing in changing before a show and allowing yourself to shed a bit of your everyday identity.

On your current tour, are you doing anything interesting with clothing to match the themes of your new album, Carta Marina?

Amber: We’re not sure! We’re considering dressing up as sailors to go with our watery, ocean-y, stormy record and I am harboring not-so-secret fantasies of shouting out “swab the decks,” “beer! starboard!” and the like. But we’ll see. A lot of the lyrics on Carta Marina are dream-inspired as well so I also kind of want to dress up in this crazy, lizard-y sequin dress with lots of black eye-liner to play the part of a scaly mystic! Ha!

Erin: I’m not trying to match the album’s theme so much as I am trying to match Amber’s enthusiasm! We usually call each other before shows to make sure our outfits make sense together, like we all used to in fifth grade. We dress differently and our tastes differ, but I think our looks compliment each other somehow. I like when Amber shops for me- she can get me to try on stuff I wouldn’t dream of pulling off the rack but that winds up looking pretty fabulous on!

Bands used to frequently dress in coordinating outfits, but the practice is much less common now. What do you think about uniforms vs. street clothes in performance?

Amber: I think that it’s such a different world in pop music nowadays - a performer’s wardrobe can signal so many different things: who is backing them financially, which demographic they’re trying to target, whether they want to appear styled or unstyled. Street clothes and street style is so easily coopted by different industries including the music industry that I sometimes think of that kind of thing as a type of uniform, for example, “singer song-writer garb.” So it’s complicated. However, I do appreciate when performers make an effort with their appearance, especially folks whose music and performance is about spectacle, for example Lady Gaga, Gwar and M.I.A. It’s just fun! On the indie level (touring bands in Canada), I also appreciate it when folks have fun with their appearance and make an effort to entertain, for example folks like Gobble Gobble or tUnE-yArDs.

Erin: I wouldn’t oppose a uniform!

Do you think shopping locally is important?

Amber: Montreal is such an amazingly creative place - a bustling island city! - with so much local talent that I don’t feel like I need to look elsewhere for shopping. Also, we’re all a bunch of artists so supporting one another across disciplines just makes sense - it’s about creative solidarity.

Erin: We love shopping at Lustre for show outfits & accessories. The designer Yasmine Wasfy is really friendly and is always open to altering stuff for us on short notice! Angie Johnson’s Norwegian Wood designs are staples on our blog and I even got to wear one of Angie’s Elastic Harnesses in some of our recent press photos! Good friend and neighbour Lara Kaluza is a professional thrifter and has started selling her own designs as well. We’ve been thrift shopping with this lady and we envy her skills! We’re also big fans of complexgeometries!

Top ten best-dressed musicians, from past or present?

Marianne Faithfull
Natasha Kahn (Bat For Lashes)
David Bowie
Kazu Makino (Blonde Redhead)
Betty Davis
Shirley Manson
PJ Harvey
Jimi Hendrix
Stevie Nicks

- Interview by Stephanie Fereiro
- Photography by Mike Rollo and Marilis Cardinal



Cobra & Vulure - Untitled LP, release date TBD, 2012

Cobra & Vulture- Vocare EP (independent) - April 2012

Cobra & Vulture - Seer EP (Independent) - July 2011



Cobra & Vulture is a Montreal guitar-drums trio with a bizarre but lovely combination of folk-style guitar tapping, double-stop riffing and harmonies that move ya. Their lyrical songs feature arresting vocals and an intertwined dual guitar attack care of two frontwomen (best friends Amber Goodwyn and Erin Ross) and grounded by the inimitable drumming of Jeremy MacCuish (Cotton Mouth, Parlovr). Frequently writing songs in thematic cycles, the band’s somewhat introspective songwriting process is blown to bits by their live act: a take-no-prisoners sweaty rock show complete with hollering, laughter and tossed hair.